Council to pay former employee £56k following car parks fiasco

Cliff Harrison, Adur and Worthing councils' former executive head of technical services
Cliff Harrison, Adur and Worthing councils' former executive head of technical services

WORTHING Borough Council has settled out of court with former employee Cliff Harrison following an employment tribunal’s decision to uphold his claim for unfair dismissal over the management of the town’s car parks.

In its ruling, the employment tribunal found that Mr Harrison had to accept substantial contributory fault for his part in the handling of the dispute with NCP. The council is now to pay Mr Harrison a total of £56,000, reflecting the balance of fault and negligence found by the tribunal, and thus bringing the proceedings to a conclusion.

Since control of the car parks was returned to the council and the £1 per hour tariff introduced, use has risen by over 13 per cent in the last full financial year, as compared to the last full year of NCP control.

John Mitchell, director for communities at Adur and Worthing councils, said: “We were disappointed in the employment tribunal’s ruling, but accepted that there were historic weaknesses in our procedures which allowed this situation to arise. We had proactively addressed those weaknesses prior to the tribunal hearing commencing last autumn.

“Today’s settlement brings this chapter to a close. The tribunal found that there was fault on both sides; this settlement concludes proceedings and allows the Council to focus on the future.

“The substantial increase in the use of the multi-storey car parks emphasises that the council made the right decision for the town by returning the car parks to ‘in house’ control. Importantly, because there is now no third party involved, the money spent in Worthing’s car parks is staying within the town, rather than going into a private company.

“We can continue to look forward to low parking prices, benefitting the town’s businesses by encouraging residents and visitors alike to stop awhile in Worthing without fear of a hefty parking charge.”

The settlement will be met from funds jointly held by Adur & Worthing councils.